19 August 2014
RMT Press Office - Photo © Jess Hurd/RMT
RAIL UNION RMT today slammed the Government for announcing the approved shortlist of bidders for the new Northern and Trans-Pennine Express franchises – just a few hours after the consultation on the routes closed at midnight last night.
The new franchises are to be let on the clear basis of axing guards and other safety-critical staff, closing routes and stations, hiking fares, closing ticket offices and cancelling first and last trains. Yesterday, RMT delivered 10,000 cards to the DfT - filled in by members of the public at 50 RMT-organised events across the Region and protesting at the plans for the new franchises.
Now, just a few hours after that consultation closed the list of shortlisted bidders has been announced – a shortlist that RMT describes as “the same old greedy companies looking to hitch yet another ride on the rail privatisation gravy train purely in the interests of private profit”. The bidders announced are:
• Abellio Northern Ltd
• Arriva Rail North Ltd
• Govia Northern Ltd
TransPennine Express franchise:
• First Trans Pennine Express Limited
• Keolis Go-Ahead Limited
• Stagecoach Trans Pennine Express Trains Limited
With the rushed and bogus consultation barely over the Government will now issue an invitation to tender (ITT) to all the shortlisted bidders in December. The DfT will assess these and is expected to announce the winner in October 2015.
Mick Cash, RMT Acting General Secretary, said:
“It makes a mockery of the consultation that this list of the greedy and the incompetent has been drawn up by the Government before the consultation responses have even been opened and before these companies even know what it is that they are bidding for. RMT said from the off that the consultation was wholly bogus, this morning’s outrageous manoeuvring has proved that conclusively and RMT will use every tool at our disposal to expose this racket for what it is.
“The campaign to stop the carve up of jobs and services on Northern and Trans-Pennine Express has only reached round one and RMT is now moving into the next phase.
“Politicians across the North need to recognise that if they don’t oppose the plans to rip apart rail services in the region in the name of profit then they will be called to account by an electorate that RMT will ensure is fully aware of the issues.
“The only solution to this racketeering on our railway tracks is public ownership and the return of our railways to the people on the basis that they are run as a public service and not as a get-rich-quick scheme for greedy private train companies.”